International broadcaster MHz Networks ends search for new channel in D.C. area, announces signoff

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A noncommercial broadcaster in the Washington, D.C., area whose spectrum was sold in last year’s FCC auction will go off the air and reduce its cable offerings in the market as of March 31.

MHz Networks broadcasts from D.C.’s Virginia suburbs on WNVC and WNVT, formerly owned by Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corp. in Richmond. Commonwealth sold the spectrum for the stations last year for a total of $182 million.

MHz, a nonprofit independent of Commonwealth, airs a mix of local and international multicultural fare on the stations. Additional digital channels are devoted to international news networks such as Deutsche Welle, Africa Today and Turkey’s TRT World.

The broadcaster “looked at acquiring another license and to other providers for channel carriage,” said MHz Networks President Frederick Thomas in a press release Saturday. “The former ended in too many moving pieces and the latter proved difficult for the cable systems without a must-carry broadcast partner.”

MHz would also need a new facility because Commonwealth owns its studios, Thomas told Current.

The network will continue to provide MHz Worldview, a channel of international shows, on cable in the D.C. market and to 22 public TV stations across the country. This week it will resume broadcasts in Chicago, where the sale of another station in last year’s FCC auction — WYCC, operated by the City Colleges of Chicago — bumped Worldview off the air. WTTW will begin airing Worldview Friday, according to Thomas.

MHz will move distribution of Worldview to other stations through the centralcast facility at WJCT in Jacksonville, Fla.

The network is also working to promote a subscription streaming service, MHz Choice, which offers international comedies, dramas and mysteries on digital platforms including Roku and iTunes. “I would encourage my comrades out there in public TV world to embrace the idea of getting involved in digital streaming,” Thomas said. “It’s really where they need to be moving.”

Meanwhile, MHz’s signoff brings to an end the Washington market’s sole outlet for RT, the Kremlin-backed Russian news channel that has been criticized as propaganda. In a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai last year, members of Congress asked whether sponsorship identification and public file ownership disclosure requirements should be applied to RT.

The channel was among the international feeds MHz offered on broadcast and cable and “really had an audience,” Thomas said. MHz Worldview does not include RT programming.

7 thoughts on “International broadcaster MHz Networks ends search for new channel in D.C. area, announces signoff

  1. Well, I am horribly disappointed in this decision. TRT World News from Turkey, and The AFRICA Live, AFRICA Today, and the CGTN World News programmes were some of the best in the World, along with Aljazeera. I don’t have Cable and don’t want Cable. So now, I only have BBC World News, which is sometime good & a lot of times not, since they cut costs a couple of years ago.

  2. I, too, use the antenna and have enjoyed having more international news, documentaries, and round table discussions. Our local channels are very dummed down with excessive weather, traffic, police news, and fluff information. I am sad to lose TRT, Africa, CGTN, RT and Aljazeera.

  3. MHZ should return broadcasting over the air and just add commercials. The inhabitants of the Washington, DC metropolitan NEED international news, documentaries, and round table discussions. I, too, have absolutely no interest in cable. There is nothing intellectually interesting on cable.

  4. I am very disappointed, as well. The only channels worth watching on TV were broadcasted on MHZ. EVERYTHING else is on TV is garbage controlled by the usual suspects. I look forward to Roku and Itunes contracting with them. If necessary, I will pay to watch. But I will never pay for cable again.

  5. Heartbroken about this global loss of perspective offered by MHZ news Outlets and I loved the mysteries and detective stories with subtitles.

    Please, Please come up with an alternative., a streaming package, access online something.
    Feel like I am left in a wilderness of garbage television feeding media giant propaganda machines.
    K

  6. Heartbroken about this global loss of perspective offered by MHZ news Outlets and I loved the mysteries and detective stories with subtitles.

    Please, Please come up with an alternative., a streaming package, access online something.
    Feel like I am left in a wilderness of garbage television feeding media giant propaganda machines.
    K

  7. Stunned and saddened with the decision
    Loved everything MHZ brought to the viewers.
    Miss the dramas, mysteries, news and all.
    Although I have cable haven’t decided to pay 4 mhz choice.

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